Monday, March 24, 2014

Barry Roubaix 2014.

The 2014 edition of the Barry Roubaix was my first race of the year. On my way to Hastings I drove one of the gravel roads on the course to check conditions. On that one gravel road the conditions were good. But, the rain that fell the night before had different ideas. 

Starting in Wave 1 was a new experience for me. I have never done that. I was chatting with a former rival (and former clyde) when we were staged up. Then we rolled up to the start line and waited the last two minutes for the start. 3, 2, 1...GO. I knew the start would be fast. All pavement. 150 people. The leaders went off like a rocket. I settled into my groove and just plugged away. We made the turn onto Yeckley Road and I could still see the leaders. I was impressed with myself for that....keeping them insight for nearly 2.5 miles. By the 3rd Sister the group was strung out and the leaders were gone.

I did start too usual. So I had to back off a bit but then I settled in. Starting in the first wave I had plenty of people to ride with. I knew Jay, Mark, Ken, Brian, and Lisa were chasing so I kept plugging away. Conditions were interesting to say the least. The roads were still wet and I could definitely feel extra drag. Some of the areas were awful. Deep mud and mud puddles which made it like riding in peanut butter. A few miles in a group of guys were passing and the first guy went down, taking two others down with him in some deep mud. I made it safely through and just kept plodding away.

Finally making to the pavement on Gun Lake road I really found my rhythm. I started to pick off a few people and I was able to hang with a smaller group and recover. I was comfortable. I knew I was going to miss my goal time by the 11 mile mark, but I was still having a lot of fun. Lots of people all suffering the same. Well...some were suffering more than others when they were hurling on the side of the road...but you get the idea.

So, I took 57th place in my age group. Missed my goal by 19 minutes. Finished the race with a smile on my face. The new run into the finish was awesome. 3 miles of pavement but another long climb. I was ready to be done so I crushed it. I passed a lot of people and then let it rip over the top. It felt good to crush the last roller and then be going full tilt into the finish line. Awesome time! Even with conditions I was able to shave over 5 minutes off of my fastest time ever (2012) at this race.

Our whole team finished and was glad to be done! Here are our team members that were here:
Back Row: Left (me!)
Andrew G.
Ryan (hiding in the back middle)
Jay B.

Front Row: Brian B. (left)
Lisa P.
Ken S.
Mark K. (right)

It was a good time on a tough course. The Lowell 50 is next on the schedule on April 5th and then Yankee Springs is the following weekend. Season off to a good start! I weighed in at 242.25 this morning which puts me at 24.75 pounds down for the year. I am shooting for 239 next Monday. Just gonna keep plugging away!

Riding bikes is awesome.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Twas the night before Barry....

Twas the night before Barry....
and all through the house....
nobody is here except for me.

that didnt rhyme.
i don't care.

I am almost ready for my first race of 2014. I will be loading up first thing in the morning and heading to Hastings for the Barry Roubaix. 36 miles of gravel, pavement, and 3000 like minded people. 

My house really is empty. Just me and the 2 cats. Wife is taking pics, son is at a movie, one daughter at her friends house, one at my in-laws, and one babysitting. Quiet. So, I have just been plotting my attack for tomorrow. Starting in wave 1 will be interesting. I need to make sure that I don't start too fast and blow myself up. I know for sure I can ride hard for 25-28 miles. 36 miles won't be much different....just a bit further. 

2 miles....the tree sisters.....early in the race....attack them
right turn onto the home more climb and then a left, 2 rights, and a left....done.

See you tomorrow.....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Last Barry Roubaix training ride

With the help of my friend Tony I got my hitch installed on the Crosstrek. I was down and out on Saturday. Had a fever and sore throat. Didn't do a darn thing. There was a training ride Sunday morning so I figured I would give it a shot and loaded up.

I had to take the Kuat rack from a 4 bike down to a 2 bike so it is easier to carry. lol. Honestly, the 4 spot rack is just overkill for my little car. The changeover was simple (4 bolts) and I had it on the ride and ready to rock. Thankfully I got to sleep in some because the ride wasn't until 11am.

Upon arrival I saw Jay and Dan T. along with Dwight, Charles and a few other WSI riders. Dan S. pulled in and we were ready to rock. Dan S. brought a tank to a Formula 1 race. What I mean is...he had a Borealis Yampa with Studs. Yes...a fat bike with studs....6 PSI...and the roads were like concrete. The majority of the group was on CX bikes and a few were on their mountain bikes. It was evident that the ride was going to be good for a fat bike. He opted for the 24 mile route. Wise choice.

The group made the turn onto the 36 mile loop and there was a river crossing....yes...a river crossing in the middle of the road. It was only about 5' wide and 6-8" deep. The Barry is a CX no biggie right? lol. I was on the Defy again with the CX tires and the roads were in awesome shape. Only one road we hit had ice and it was a short section. There were also some areas where it was getting soft and you could tell that the mud was there a few days before. Thankfully it was frozen because temps were in the low 20's when we were out there.

The group opted to cut the ride short because of the lower temps. We took M-43 and cut out the finish/start of the route. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. Nailed the long climb on Gun Lake Road and ripped it back to the car. My average speed was .6 mph higher than my fastest race time. And my average heart rate was 9 beats per minute I am doing alright.

Rick just posted the start waves for Saturday. I get to lead the pack out of Hastings. Wow....that will be an experience. Having around 3000 people behind me trying to beat me to the finish line. Hey...I will always have someone to ride with.....See ya Saturday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Barry-Roubaix (training and course update)

Brian, Mark and I headed out to test out the roads this past Saturday. It didn't take long before we figured out that the gravel roads were not going to be rideable. The first one we hit was pure ice. There was about a 6" strip on each edge that was walkable...but riding it was out of the question.

Mark and I (Photo Courtesy: Brian B.)
So...instead of risking injury or worse, we hit the pavement. We rode out until the odometer read 10 miles and we turned back towards the car. We managed about 21 miles and took advantage of the warmish temperatures. But.....we talked about warm weather...and melting.

Mark lives by the Barry Roubaix course so he rode Monday night. The picture below is what the roads looked like. Nasty...but ice.

Photo courtesy of Mark K.

But....the banner is up in Hastings.....
Photo courtesy of Mark K.

I did get out and ride this past Sunday. Too nice outside to skip a ride. I found a bunch of hills. My first 21 miles were pretty good. I was feeling good and holding my speed. The problem was, I rode 21 the day before and I turned straight into a headwind for the trip home. 7 miles....and it pulled my average speed down a full MPH. At any rate, I got a solid 30 miles in to cap of the weekend. Stepped on the scale Monday and I was 245. Down 22 pounds for the year. Got a new ride. Can use my wife's awesome Kuat rack and look like a real cyclist. lol. 

Because of the crazy week last week we ate out a few days and I had a lot of bread. My allergies flared up and I was miserable all last week. Sunday I cut wheat again and I am already feeling better. Pretty amazing that after many years of dealing with terrible allergies that they might have all been caused by a gluten sensitivity. 

10 days from today we will be racing! My season will begin!

Monday, March 3, 2014

1st Barry Boubaix Ride of the year.

 Finally got a road report that said the roads were ride-able with a mix of sand and snow with some minimal ice. Jay B., Mark K. and I decided it was time to get outdoors and ride this damn course. We had decent weather too, it was mid 20's and cloudy. We met at the Long Lake Outdoor Center and we headed out. 

I decided to ride my Defy with the CX tires on it. Probably not the best decision because of the conditions...but I want to try to ride this during the race so I needed to see if it was even possible. About 1/4 mile in I started to have my doubts. The first turn we made...I ended up in a pile because of some icy ruts. Uh-oh went through my mind...because we hit our first gravel road I hit the ground shortly thereafter. Thankfully, that was the only time I hit the dirt. 

We plodded onward. I was surprised that I was able to make the climbs on the road bike. Last year I had trouble climbing then even with the granny gears on my Epic.....and having the Defy I was forced to just spin what I had...and I took advice from a teammate (Dave W.) and I just put my nose on the bar and spun as hard as I could. The hills are always tough. This year, I look at them differently. I wasn't seeing the hills as long and nasty, but as tolerable. I guess not suffering as much is helpful.

We rode a modified loop. Taking the normal course to M-43 and then just staying on M-43 until we picked the course back up. About 26 miles of hills, ice, dirt, and snow. And friends. Always fun to ride and be NOT LAZY with friends. We just plugged away for a few hours and got back to the car. For once, I wasn't the last person back to the parking lot. I won't call out who it was....just felt good that it wasn't me for a change!

Got the bike cleaned up and rode the trainer last night. Unfortunately my ride got cut short by a flat tire....yes...on the happens. HA. I must have pinched the tube when I put my trainer tire back on last night. I was at nearly an hour and I noticed my pedaling was way easier. Then the tire started to slip. Very odd feeling. What that I was feeling really good and wanted to keep going. Still, a solid hour of recovery after a Barry Roubaix ride was probably for the best.

Barry Roubaix in less than 3 weeks. Lowell 50 in less than 5 weeks. Just glad I might be able to ride the Defy as long as conditions are suitable. I don't have the mud clearance that a cross bike would offer. I have just enough clearance for the CX tires. HA! 

So, just going to keep plugging away. Feeling good. Staying positive. Enjoying life.